Writing Your Way to Change and Courage
I love and hate the new start to the year in equal measure. Each year, it’s duality never fails to amaze me. The excitement of the new possibilities, just because it’s the first month of the year. Yet the worry or pressure to not repeat the same old shit. A gateway into opportunity, a clean slate, a rebirth, if you wish. And niggling doubts over whether ‘it’ is possible, or whether you’ll just have to accept once again that you’re not that good at making changes or achieving goals. The energy and momentum and the pressure or doubts, all at the same time.
Duality in our lives is incredible and holds such wonder, I believe. We’ve nothing to hate and everything to appreciate by it. The darkness of January and February (at least in the Northern hemisphere), the cold and wet outside, calls us, invites us, inside. And it truly is inside, inside of us, within the darkness, that the beauty, the power, the changes, and opportunity lie.
However, it’s all too easy to lose touch with the magic within us. We’re conditioned to look outside of us for answers, wisdom, the right thing to do. To conform, to copy, to do what is deemed right - just to fit in. Even our New Year's Resolutions are a form of conditioning because it’s common practice to set goals, hatch plans, set targets at this time of year. We have learned to trust external sources and guidance above our own soul’s wisdom and our body’s nudges. Maybe even believing it’s selfish to do things for ourselves, or feeling guilty for making our own dreams a priority.
My belief is that every one of us deserves to lead a good life, a joyful life. And I believe the only way to do that is to follow our own heart and soul because that is where fulfillment lies. Truth then be told, we have to take responsibility for that ourselves. It is our given path on this earth to be afforded happiness and fulfillment, but we have to be open to receiving it and to enable it.
If you don’t want better, if you don’t want to change, then you won’t. But if you do, then you just have to commit to it on a deep soul-aligned level. We all have the power to change, to achieve, to realise our dreams - if we choose to. If we choose to with our hearts, minds, and souls aligned, I should say.
And that leads me on to one of the biggest reasons why we fail to make or sustain change, even if, on a logical, conscious level, it seems like the best thing to do. It’s because deep down, somewhere in our subconscious or soul-level, we aren’t bought into it.
Maybe we think we should change or do that thing.
Maybe it would look impressive to make that change or achieve that goal, it might just cover up any feelings of insecurity or low self-esteem.
Maybe hidden fears, resistance, disappointment, further worry, lie on the other side of making that change.
Maybe changing is what you believe others expect of you, that it would make you a better person.
Maybe the goal isn’t yours at all, but someone else’s like a parent, boss, or mentor.
That’s why it’s not enough to write your goals in your diary or say supportive affirmations each day, when deep in your subconscious, you don’t believe them to be true or right for you. Your body and soul know you well. They know an untruth when they hear it. They sense a misfit. Making change and aspiring to lofty ideals has to come from a place of genuine personal alignment. So, no matter how much you think you want something, if you are failing to make the shifts needed, then this is a big flag showing you that something deeper needs working on.
One of the tools in my armory that supports me in life is journaling. When I don’t journal I miss it, and I miss out. Journaling is my go-to saviour that keeps me consciously, genuinely connected to myself. It is cathartic, revealing, empowering and deeply personal. It keeps me living in alignment with my truth, not somebody else’s. Regular writing captures my journey, my progress, my thoughts. It also shows me where my resistance is, when conscious thinking alone does not. On the page, my heart flows out. It bears witness to my fears, it gifts me solutions and ideas, it offers encouragement. And when my inner critic appears too, I can notice her. I can counter her limitations and risk-aversion with the deeper, lit-up nudges calling from my soul. If I’m struggling with forming a new practice, or achieving a goal, I write and I let the page reveal why and what to do about it. Sometimes the insight doesn’t come quickly, but I trust it will show up when it’s right to do so.
It’s better to know your devil within for it keeps us safe. It’s not a bad thing. It’s the overly protective mother-figure inside you coming from a place of genuine love. She doesn’t want you hurt or vulnerable. But when it creeps in, limiting you, holding you back, harshly critiquing you, triggering doubt, then journaling can help you see it clearly for what it is. It’s just your subconscious mind. It isn’t reality. Knowing your devil affords you great clarity and perspective so you can then make a choice - believe the critic, the doubter, or thank it for highlighting potential risks or blocks so that you can then proactively manage and overcome them. Suddenly we can see our subconscious on the page in front of us and actively do something about it.
So, my friend, try journaling every day to uncover your resistance and fears and let your soul sing on the page too. It will enlighten you and guide you all at the same time. There’s no set or magic formula or amount of writing needed - just do it. And let yourself be open to letting everything flow on to the page with no resistance or judgment. It’s not about getting your spelling perfect, or about saying the right thing, it’s about letting what needs to come out of you, - what needs to be revealed - come.
When we begin new practices, or wish to form new habits, we foolishly think we can simply do ‘the thing’ just because we’ve set an intention or goal to do so. The pressure to succeed becomes immense. On top of change - which is difficult alone - we add a layer of expectation, and we also fear failure and success for all that they might mean. If I don’t do this then I’m not good enough, clever enough, committed enough, deserving etc etc. If I do achieve this then I’ll be criticised, excluded, be above my station, risk losing it all, etc etc..
So what if you flip this? What if you chose to embrace this new habit, this new aspiration, purely for the love and joy of it, not for the outcome? What if losing weight was about each meal feeling consciously wholesome and nourishing and about the art of cooking, or time spent at the table eating and chatting with loved ones rather than the goal of losing xx pounds in weight or dropping a dress size? See how the joy is interwoven at every single step of the way instead of being about the end result? Then the goal is kind of irrelevant because you’re already beginning to feel good about the whole experience. And each day is for living better, right?
Habits take anywhere between 21 and 90 days, so researchers say, to become your norm, which feels rather daunting. Oh to have that good practice embodied as your automatic default right now. But notice again the resistance in your impatience, the weight of responsibility, and challenge building on your shoulders. If you feel this, it’s going to make habit-forming all the more difficult so the antidote is to be aware of where your pitfalls might be. Again, use daily journaling to help you reveal what you need to know and what will help you.
When you’ve tried this habit / practice / new way before where did you stumble?
What caught you out? What helped you?
When did your natural momentum and enthusiasm start to wane?
What would help make this new practice enjoyable, easier?
How can you set yourself up for success?
Being more conscious of your natural tendencies and needs is the key to being successful in making any changes become your norm. Being aware of that little devil inside you, holding you back, ensures you can be realistic in your approach, be kinder to yourself and also set-up ways that will enable you. I was personally very inconsistent in posting on social media and after years of frustration and annoyance towards myself which didn’t help, I did two things that were game changers. I journaled on what would feel good. Only being on platforms that felt right for me and posting at a frequency that suited me was the first change. It now feels exciting, genuinely good and I am finally consistently posting three times every week. The second change was to hire a social media manager because I realised I am better at delivering on commitments when I work for or with someone else. And there was me thinking I couldn’t be consistent! All I had to do was find a way that worked for me and stay true to what felt good for me, not somebody else.
The lesson in all of this is that we all hold the power to change, we all have inner wisdom, and we can all have a life that feels joyful and fulfilling. Sometimes our inner devil gets in the way and it seems we’re blocked, but getting the devil and the detail … and the delights … out onto paper is a surefire way to unlock our inner power and wisdom. Imagine what brilliance and opportunity we might uncover on the page? Imagine how our relationship with ourselves can be the best guide and champion we’ve ever had the privilege of knowing?
TLDR: Embrace the duality of the new year with the excitement of possibilities and the pressure to avoid past mistakes. Discover the power within by journaling daily, unraveling resistance, fears, and soul-aligned insights. Real change comes from a place of genuine personal alignment, making your subconscious mind your ally. Flip your approach to forming habits, focusing on joy and love for the process rather than the end result. Use journaling to be aware of pitfalls, tendencies, and needs, unlocking your inner power and wisdom for a joyful and fulfilling life.
Jo Hall is a guest writer for SOULACY. Jo is an intuitive, multi-dimensional coach and mentor, trained in ICF, NLP and Cognitive Behavioural approaches & an energy and breathwork practitioner. Creator of the 'E.A.S.E. Methodology' she helps empower her clients to reconnect their heart, mind, body and soul on a holistic level so they can embrace their true self, gain clarity of purpose and ignite their calm, inner confidence to create a life of ease and joy.